Benefit Hello Flawless Face Powder

As much as I love my Benefit Porefessional, my last foray into Benefit was with their infamous ‘They’re Real’ mascara, and I wasn’t overly impressed. I felt it was overpriced for what it was, and didn’t exactly deliver on its promises. Foreshadowing…

So anyway, the reason I ended up buying this was that I had heard about the Bare Minerals pressed powder, and I was intrigued. From what I read, nobody was overly impressed, but the idea of having a pressed powder version of my favourite foundation captured me enough to consider looking around for a similar, high coverage, portable powder. A little research led me to this.


Far from being just any old pressed powder, this product calls itself ‘a custom powder cover up’. How fancy! The idea is that you can build up the coverage, which was pretty much what I was looking for. Something I could keep in my bag in case of skin emergencies that would also control oil. This one seemed pretty decent, and also the box is adooooorable.


I went with the shade “I Love Me” Ivory, which I believe is the palest. It was a good colour match generally, but building it up made it ever so slightly more orange.


Did I mention that I love the packaging? The little square, mirrored box is just so cute I want to cry. It also comes with some fabulous applicators; a thick, soft, square sponge and a brush.


The sales girl told me that the brush is for sheer, light coverage, and the sponge is for layering it on for full coverage. The words ‘full coverage’ convinced me, and I squirreled it on home, thinking that this could be the powder I was looking for.

My friends, it was not.

I’m not trying to be mean here, but I think that Benefit are seriously deluded when it comes to what their products can do. This was nowhere near full coverage. Not even close. In the below pictures I pasted on a few layers with the sponge, and as you can see, the difference was negligible.


My biggest skin complaint is always red skin, so I was hoping to cover up the pinkness in my cheeks as well as getting rid of shine. One out of two aint bad. As you can see, the powder definitely covered up shine, but that is honestly all it did. My skin looks exactly the same in both pictures. If anything, I would say it looked better in the first one; the powder succeeded in flattening me out somewhat.


Good points? Ummm…well, it gets rid of shine. But then, so do all powders. It has an SPF of 15, but to me that is so irrelevant they may as well have not bothered; I think that everyone needs a 30 on their face, and no less. Oh, and the adorable packaging I mentioned? Turns out that having a square pressed powder becomes a mite less awesome when it comes to trying to get it out the corners. As you can see below, it’s a hell of a lot less easy to evenly use a palette when it isn’t circular. Not only that, but this is barely a months worth of gentle daily usage. So it runs out fast too! What fun!


I am very disappointed. It doesn’t do what it says it does, and it doesn’t do it for the bargain price of £25.50. Eye watering is right. Back in the day, when I used pressed powder religiously, I used to be a big fan of the L’oreal true match one, and it is definitely vastly better-and much cheaper- than this one. If you are looking for a decent, buildable powder, I suggest you give the L’oreal one a go, and give Benefit a massively wide berth.

Once again, I find myself in the position of finding Benefit to be overpriced and under truthful. That aint a good mix. A small part of me blames myself; I didn’t take my time to check it out, just taking the brand on faith. A very stupid thing to do, really, given that I had already been burned once. Fool me once, shame on Benefit, but fool me twice…

OPI Make Mine Sparkling Limited Edition Gift Set; Wine and Dine Me and Incognito in Sausalito

I haven’t done a polish review in a long time; largely because, for reasons I’m yet to figure out, my damn nails keep breaking! I don’t know why and it’s driving me up the freaking wall. I did manage to grow them out for New York, but the week I got back-literally that very week- they all broke off again, one by one, and I’ve not managed to get them back since. It was almost as if I had willed them to grow especially for the trip.

Close up of my nails in NYC. This legit makes me want to cry.

Close up of my nails in NYC. This legit makes me want to cry.

I’ve recently started a new nail hardening and growth regime, and they have managed to grow out a little, so I’m super hopeful. Come on nails!!!

In the meantime, the good people over at Just My Look offered me the chance to try out one of the OPI box sets, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity. My nails were looking just about on the good side of short, so I figured now could be a good time to re-explore my love for bold, glittery nails.

They send me over a gorgeous gift set containing two polishes; Wine and Dine Me and Incognito in Sausalito.


I couldn’t really get a good angle on the polish inside the box due to the glare, so here they are again, sans packaging.


These gorgeous colours are both right up my street. Any regular followers will know that I am a huge fan of dark shades and glitter, and here I have both! I’ll start with the dark blue, Incognito in Sausalito.

Incognito in Sausalito

This shade is a navy, bruise blue, so dark it’s almost black. I have an on-going love affair with black nails that I blame on watching Spike in Buffy, so I was over the moon to see this dark, rich shade in the box. It goes on beautifully, too; the pictures below are only one coat, making it that most elusive of things; a one coat wonder!

IIS Nails

Darker shades can sometimes require two or even three coats to give good coverage, so I am always on the lookout for polishes that do it in one coat, which is exactly what this one does. The coverage is amazing, and the colour is so beautifully rich and dark. It’s right on the cusp of black, but with a gorgeously rich and elegant blue tone to it. Lush.

IIS Nails bottle

I couldn’t stop admiring my nails in this shade. I would definitely recommend a basecoat, as I imagine this would stain your nails, but the finish and colour are beautiful, and just perfect if you are looking for a dark shade that isn’t quite black.

The next shade was a glitter (huzzah!) called Wine and Dine Me. I deliberately blurred the second picture a little to give you an idea of the sparkles!

Wine and Dine Me

The first thing I noticed about this polish was how heavy the glitter distribution is. A lot of glitter polishes are very sparse when you actually paint them on, so I was pleased to see that this one spread pretty thickly. I’ve done a montage below of several coats over bare nails to give you some idea of the build up.

3 layers

As you can see, it has a very pale blue base; this took me by surprise, as I couldn’t see it in the bottle, but it’s a fab idea as it means that you can wear this over bare nails if you feel so inclined. By coat three it was so thick and shiny it was even starting to resemble gel nails! I can’t remember the last time I had a glitter that you could wear bare, so that was very cool to discover.

For the rest of the pictures I layered 2 coats of glitter over Incognito in Sausalito, just as I think that is how I would wear it normally.

W&D nails

I really loved the colour scheme of this glitter; lots of pinks, purples and blues, all blended together, with large chunks mixed with a very fine sprinkling of deep purple. The glitter dried slightly matte, which I love for glitter, but make sure you finish with a top coat if you want shine. I also noticed that the extra two laters made the blue base look even dark, almost black; this is obviously because of the blue tint to the glitter base. Not an issue, but also worth keeping in mind if you are planning on layering over a lighter colour.

W&D nails bottle

I am so happy with both these polishes; a dark blue/black and a purple glitter. What more could I want?? I’ve been wearing Incognito in Sausalito all week at work, and I think it’s the perfect work day polish; dark, without being too domineering. I’m planning on layering the glitter over it to jazz it up for the weekend, so in this box you truly do get a day to night nail look!

Naturally I don’t need to sell you on the virtues of OPI. Fab brush shapes, amazingly smooth application, speed drying, huge range of colours; we all know the drill. Just My Look have a frankly massive range of different shades, including the ones above, so if you fancy having a browse here’s the link!

In the meantime, I am carrying on steadfast with my nail growth regime, and I will update you-hopefully soon- as to whether it was successful. Mega talons will soon be mine!!


Product Provided by PR. All opinions are my own.

New York Haul and Make Up Forever High Definition Powder Review

You guys, you have to go to New York. Seriously. It is the greatest city in the world.

Chilling on Brooklyn Bridge, all casual like.

Chilling on Brooklyn Bridge, all casual like.

We were staying in midtown, a few blocks from Grand Central, in a hotel called the Shelburne NYC which I would thoroughly recommend. We had an amazing time; we saw everything, tried everything; a real NYC experience.

About to go see the Yankees. I felt unbearably American at this precise moment.

About to go see the Yankees. I felt unbearably American at this precise moment.

If you’ve never been, I highly suggest you head over there now. It was literally exactly how it looks on the TV: fast, fun and full of life. I adored it.

The view from the Empire State Building at midnight. There's nothing quite like it.

The view from the Empire State Building at midnight. There’s nothing quite like it.

But anyway, onto the important stuff; the beauty products.

I’ve been back from the US for a month now, which I think has given me adequate time to try out all the things I bought out there.

I don’t think I went too crazy, incidentally; I only visited Sephora 3 times, and they were all totally necessary trips.

Below is my mini NYC haul….


See what I mean? Not bad, considering. I was trying not too spend too much, since saving for a house really has to come before buying mascara, but I feel like I stuck to the necessities. Sort of.

Anyway, onto the product I’ve chose to review today; High Definition Powder by Make Up For Ever.


This is a brand I had been dying to try out, a cult, US-only line that I’ve heard nothing but good things about from other bloggers.

I had planned on buying a foundation (which I did; more on that later) but I ended up grabbing this too, simply because I’ve been wanting to get one for a while.


This is a finishing powder; a colourless, fine grained dust which you brush over your finished face to set and hold your look. I am a big fan of the matte look, plus I have oily skin, so I’ve really wanted to try a finishing power for ages. I figured, why not this one?


I don’t know if you can see from the picture, but it dispenses through a fine mesh, which is utterly fab; it totally stops the powder going everywhere, like it does with normal dispensers.

The powder itself is super fine, micro granulated with a talcum powder appearance but a much lighter texture. Once you dust it on it vanishes into your face like a second skin, soaking into your pores and holding your makeup in place.


I LOVE this. Seriously. I kind of thought I would anyway, but I’m still surprised by just how much.

Since the first time I tried it I haven’t gone without; it gives your skin a beautifully subtle finish, and it lasts all day. My face can look like an oil slick, especially in Summer, but I haven’t had to reapply this at all.

I can’t see myself going back to a regular loose powder after this. Since it’s hard to get hold of I am willing to try other brands (I know GOSH do one), but if they don’t live up to it then I will definitely go the Import route. That’s how much I need this in my life.

If you’re looking for a setting powder to keep your face in place, then give this, or other finishing powders, a go; it does the job perfectly, giving your foundation the staying power you’ve only dreamed of. If you have oily skin, don’t even hesitate; day long matte perfection is heading your way…

Covergirl Lash Blast Length Mascara Review

This week I am going on a trip that I’ve been waiting for and planning for months; I’m going to New York.

I CANNOT tell you how excited I am.

I’ve wanted to go to America my whole life, and New York in particular. Anytime that friends go I pester them for information, every last detail. I want to know every tiny thing. And I’m just as interested in the big stuff as the little stuff; to me, going up the Empire State Building is just as exciting as buying a coffee from a real American starbucks and drinking it while reading the New York Times. That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

So I’m going, finally. Next week, for 10 whole days. I’ve planned in meticulous detail where to go, what to see, and what we’re doing to be doing on each day, even at what time. I’m a bit of an overplanner, if I’m honest; I’ve got the whole holiday on a schedule. This may conflict with my boyfriend’s Laissez-faire attitude to holidays, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Potentially whilst crossing THIS bridge!

Potentially whilst crossing THIS bridge!

Anyway, in the midst of all my planning, there’s one thing that totally didn’t occur to me, and weirdly enough that was the beauty products.

I don’t know how this is possible! A whole untapped group of beauty that I’ve never been able to see, and it never even crossed my mind. Until last week, that is, when I was in TK Maxx and spotted this.


This is a covergirl mascara, a US brand, and one I’ve heard loads about; Taylor Swift is one of their spokespeople, which is enough reason to get excited.

Buy Covergirl and you too can look like this!!

Buy Covergirl and you too can look like this!!

I spotted it and got very excited at the prospect of trying out an American cosmetic brand. Only then did it occur to me that I was GOING to America in just a few weeks. Suddenly images of Sephora were dancing in front of my eyes; I nearly had a mini breakdown in the middle of the shop.

Once I managed to calm myself down I spirited the mascara home with me and unwrapped it straight away. I was a huge fan of the way that they package it with a separate lid so that you can see the brush; why don’t we do that here?

Anyway, I took the mascara out, and that’s when I first noticed it; how much this mascara looks like another of my favourites, Max Factor Lash Extension effect.



max factor

They both have the same conical tube, and the same slim, rubber bristled brush.


I tried the mascara out and that sealed the deal for me; they were identical. Same subtle lifting and lengthening effect without clumping; the only difference was that the covergirl is waterproof.

You may also notice I sorted my eyebrows out in between pictures. Lily Collins I am not.

You may also notice I sorted my eyebrows out in between pictures. Lily Collins I am not.

I will admit to being a tad let down. I was so excited about buying an American brand, and then it turned out to be a total dupe of my most regularly used mascara. A quick google confirmed it; Max Factor bought the brand, and evidently there are multiple dupes. I’ll make sure to take a few snaps of any I spot in Wallgreens!

So there’s not really a lot to say. I’m reviewing something I’ve reviewed before, multiple times. I still love it. Let’s just hope that the US of A holds a few more exciting products for me! To be continued…

Magazine Freebies; May 2015

It’s that time again! The sun comes out and with it brings a whole bunch of magazine freebies. Strangely, though, I haven’t bought any of them. I think this may be the first time that there has been multiple freebies and I haven’t indulged in even one! This may yet change, but for the moment, let’s just move onto the list. I would normally start with the one I’ve bought, so let’s just start with the one I’m most likely to buy.


In Style

Clinique smart custom repair serum

I am soooo tempted by this. So very tempted. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this serum, and I’m totally getting into serums at the moment. This may be a match made in heaven. The only thing putting me off is the magazine; I’ve never been a huge fan. This feels silly, however, as I would totally buy the serum for £4. I would through to recommend you buy this; it’s a bargain and apparently awesome. I’m going on a plane next week, so I can totally see myself buying this at Heathrow. Watch this space….


Percy and Reed

Hair Volumiser No-Oil Oil.

My hair is pretty big already, but it’s also quite fine. As a result, I do have an interest in volumisers, and I’m intrigued by the ‘no oil’ concept here. Again, the only thing putting me off is the magazine. That, plus I’ve never been blown away by the brand. I imagine this one will pass me by.


Marie Claire

Neal’s Yard Mint and Bergamot hand cream.

I actually don’t mind Marie Claire, and if this was the Clinique I would already Have bought it. I really don’t need anther handcream though: I already have about 7. I also don’t think much of Neals Yard creams, I tend to find them a bit watery.

So there we have it; the best of May offerings. If you indulge let me know!

Ok, I’ll admit it; I was disappointed with 1989 by Taylor Swift.

I hate the title of this post, and I’m the one who wrote it.

It genuinely depresses me to think that anybody out there might think that Taylor is capable of anything less than perfection, let alone myself, and yet somehow, I find myself writing this; my thoughts on Taylor Swift’s newest album, 1989.


I’m a MASSIVE fan of Taylor Swift fan, and have been for quite a few years. Here’s me doing my best Tay Swift impression right before I went to her concert earlier this year.

me at concert

Clearly I am the one on the right.

I was VERY excited. That was for the Red tour, and Red is one of my all-time favourite albums. I have been playing it pretty much nonstop for the last 2 years, and I was beyond thrilled at the beginning of August when Taylor announced that she was releasing a new album. The first track, Shake It Off, was INCREDIBLE; I loved it on first listen, and I kind of metaphorically let out a breath I hadn’t realised I was holding. It was ok, she hadn’t messed up. Not that I thought she would, not really, but Red was just SO good that I wasn’t sure she could top it. I downloaded Shake it Off and played it on repeat for a few weeks, until out of the blue Taylor released a new song, Out of the Woods.

Then I started to get nervous.

It was literally the first time I had listened to a Taylor song and not loved it straight away. It was…ok. I wasn’t a big fan of the overly repetitive chorus and the weird electric beats. After a few listens I got to liking it, but the thread of unease had settled in and it wasn’t going away.

A week or so later, I was on holiday when I heard someone mention a new Taylor song was out, so I got hold of some wifi and listened to it on You Tube. It was called ‘Welcome to New York’, and I can very clearly remember the first time I heard it. My boyfriend was half asleep next to me, and I was sat up in bed, listening to it on my ipad and feeling my stomach give way. I didn’t like it. I REALLY didn’t like it. I listened to it again, by which point boyfriend had dragged himself from his midday siesta and listened in. We sat in silence as the song finished, and then I looked at him and said ‘I’m worried.”

Worried was an understatement. Internally, ever so slightly, I was freaking out. I know it may seem dramatic, but I had been so excited for that album, and having heard 3 of the songs, I was not so fond of two of them. I didn’t like those odds. I put it out of my head, played ‘Shake it Off’ again for reassurance, pre-ordered the extended edition and waited for the album to come out, fingers crossed.


When the big day came, I was too scared to listen to it. Again, I’m not trying to sound dramatic, I just really couldn’t. To put this in perspective, when I received ‘Red’ back in 2012, I ripped it straight onto my iphone, sat and listened to it on my laptop until I had heard it all the way through twice, then took it out with me shopping, playing it over my headphones. I couldn’t stop. I loved it straight away, just like I knew I would.

1989 gave me a horrid sense of foreboding. I carried it around for a day and a half before I finally listened, and…I liked it.

I still like it.

It’s been out a while now, and that’s all I can say for certain. I like it. It’s good. If pushed, I would say it’s great. Technically it’s probably one of her best, and I imagine most people will love it. For me, though, I just feel like something’s missing, and I’m not even sure if I can put my finger on it. It feels kind of…empty. Every time I listen to it I enjoy it, but afterwards I’m in no rush to listen again.


I’ve been trying to figure out what the issue is, and I think to be honest it’s a combination of a few things. The ‘new sound’ for one; I don’t like 80’s music. I also think that lyrically, she’s digressed. Her songs are less meaningful now than they were five years ago, like she’s maturing in reverse. I don’t like it. I also think there’s a lot of mismatch; songs that are stronger musically have weak lyrics, and vice versa. On top of that, I can’t stop comparing it to Red. Red was a mini masterpiece. Even the best songs on this album aren’t as good as the less good songs on Red, and I think that is where the biggest issue lies.

It’s not all bad. There are things I like about all the songs, but equally there are things I don’t like about a lot of them. Here’s a quick track by track run-through.

welcome to new york 5

Welcome to New York: I think my initial thoughts on this song have been well documented already. The first time I heard it, it broke my heart. Over produced and electronic. Annoying auto-tuned voice. SYNTHESISERS for crying out loud. Synthesisers. Taylor swift with a synthesiser is a world I have never wanted to live in. I don’t mind it now, but I still think it just sounds like a Katy Perry song. Anyone could release this song. Rebecca Black could release this song; is that really the direction Taylor wanted to go?

It’s immature and empty. It makes New York sound fake and unappealing, like it’s full of 20 something hipsters who are trying to “find themselves”. The heavy, repetitive beat would make it a great running song, but again, is that really something I wanted from Taylor? No it isn’t. I rely on Taylor for emotionally honest songs with great melodies, not repetitive, meaningless words laid over a thumping baseline. Her comparison of New York to a relationship especially grates at me; if she really thinks that true love has to drive you crazy, she hasn’t found it yet. But I guess we knew that already.

blank space 1

Blank Space: Everyone seems to be going nuts for this song; Buzzfeed even wrote an article about how it’s her best song ever (here). The lyrics, I’ll admit, are great. Taylor makes fun of her image as a crazy man eater, and the results are fantastic. There are so many lyrical gems in here that I’d struggle to narrow down the best ones. No arguments from me that this is one of the wittiest songs Taylor has written; my issue comes from the tune. It’s not catchy, there’s no hook. It’s forgettable. I feel like she’s let the song down by using a bland tune; this could have been a Trouble style legend if she had come up with a fantastic melody, but I really don’t think she has. It’s not an obvious single, because it’s not an obviously fantastic song. Clever, yes, but it feels like it should have been a B side to another awesome Taylor track, as opposed to the newest single.

style 3

Style: I love the tune on this one. It’s super slick and stylish, very 80’s and very cool. I’m not such a fan of the lyrics, unfortunately. It’s quite repetitive, with no clever imagery, and an unfortunate lack of imagination. I feel like she let the tune down. Taylor is a master at telling stories, painting pictures in your head, and yet with this one she doesn’t manage it. It falls short of greatness, and it fails on the promise of the opening notes.

out of the woods

Out of the Woods: Another song I didn’t like on first hearing, but I like it more now. The thundering, base heavy beat is cool, and the chorus is fun to sing. It’s just a bit empty. A recurring theme, unfortunately.

all you had to do was stay

All You Had to do Was Stay: this is one of my favourites. I like the clever wording of the chorus and the upbeat, peppy tune. I also like the fact that the bright and bubbly melody juxtaposes the somewhat dark and accusatory lyrics. It’s a pretty awesome anthem for anyone who is over a nasty ex and can’t help but gloat when they come crawling back. The entire theme of this song is pretty much ‘Oh, so you want me now, do you? Well tough luck bitch, that ship has sailed.’ Which, as I said, when thrown against the super fun music, is an interesting mix, and not easy to pull off. Kudos, Taylor.

shake it off 1

Shake it Off: Sorry to fall prey to a very cliché phrase, but THIS is a TUNE. Still the best on the album, still the only song that could really be a single. Great lyrics, great tune, great video, great great great. I can’t fault it. Classic Swift. It’s the only natural successor to Red on this album, and the closest thing to the next ‘I Knew You Were Trouble.’ It was also a bit of an anthem for me at the time it was released; ‘haters gonna hate, fakers gonna fake’. Yes they certainly are, and it’s not my problem.

i wish you would

I Wish You Would: I love the fast music behind this song, but again I’m not a fan of the lyrics. It’s a made up story of a girl/guy who are broken up and wishing they could get back together, and the fact that it isn’t based on Taylor’s life shows. Empty, yet again. It’s also one in which Taylor had no input in writing the tune, and it shows; it really, really doesn’t sound like her.

bad blood

Bad Blood: famously written about Katy Perry, this is a great anthem about a bad friend. The cheerleader chant/beat heavy chorus is pretty cool, but more early Avril than current Taylor. The verses are on point though, and she totally nails that feeling of when a ‘good friend’ proves to be anything but; “now we got problems, and I don’t think we can solve them.” “Did you think we’d be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife.” I really, really feel this one. Taylor is best when she writes honestly, and this is one of the most honest songs on here. Great track, but as I said, sounds like Avril released it 15 years ago, and I feel like Taylor should be beyond that by now.

wildest dreams

Wildest Dreams: Taylor is channelling Lana Del Ray haaaaaard on this one. Floaty and pretty, I really like the delivery, but I find some of the lyrics a bit silly. The confession that she goes into a relationship knowing it will end seems a bit immature and stupid. Surely that’s like going into a restaurant and ordering food you don’t like? As a result, I feel myself rolling my eyes a little here. I preferred Taylor when she genuinely believed each guy was the one; even if she was naïve, at least then you could take her feelings more seriously. The only way she could really get away with this one is if she was more of a ‘try anything once’ heartless type, like Jessa on Girls. If she was just going out with this guy for the sake of it, no strings, no feelings, maybe you could let it go. But that’s not it at all. One the one hand she’s like ‘we may as well go for it, even though we know it will end’ and on the other side she’s going ‘please remember me when it’s over’ and hoping that, when he leaves her, memories of her will haunt him. As a result, she sounds like a girl who just wants guys to like her, just for the sake of it. I read a great quote once, can’t remember who it was by: “A girl wants to be loved by every man. A woman wants to be loved by just one.” That’s so, so true, and for me sums up this song, making it hard to take seriously. I like the ethereal sound, though.

how you get the girl

How You Get the Girl: this one sounds like it could have been on ‘Speak Now.’ I like the poppy tune, the fun chorus, the simple lyrics. My issue is that, as it’s about another ‘faceless’ couple, just like “I Wish You Would”, it’s once again hard to get behind it. As I said, I like Taylor best when she speaks from the heart, and describing other people’s made up lives doesn’t do it for me. Fun, though.

this love 3

This Love: LOVE this song. It reminds me of ‘Sad Beautiful Tragic’ from Red, another one I loved. It’s really, really gorgeous, one of the ‘softer’ songs that I was waiting for. I also love her voice on this. Even though the story of a love you’ve let go coming back to you is one I can’t relate to, I love the way it’s told; finally, she’s telling her stories in the same way she used to. Can’t fault it.
i know places 4


I Know Places: Another song I loved, and on first listen. The fox and hunters imagery is awesome, and I love the dark, eerie notes. I love the fact that you can tell it’s really personal; Taylor is always at her best writing the truth. I also love the bridge and the chorus. I basically just love it all. Massive win.

clean 4

Clean: Another great one to round of the album, written with Imogen Heap, one of my favourite singers. I love the addiction imagery and the rising chorus, but I also think it’s lacking that big ‘moment’ that takes a song from good to great. Pretty, though.


Wonderland: This is track one of three extras that you get when you buy the extended album, and I love it. It’s an Alice in Wonderland inspired song, and I love all the imagery; “Cheshire cat smile”, “curious  minds”, “we found wonderland, you and I got lost in it.” There’s a great bit at the end where she sings “we both went mad.” She sings it in the coolest way, with a heavy resounding back base and an echo, with a pause after it to really let it sink in. I’m not giving these songs marks out of ten, but if I were, the delivery of that one word would make up half the score on this tune. Great touch, great tune.

you are in love

You Are in Love: one of the most lyrically advanced songs Taylor has ever written. Thank GOD. It really is lovely. Beautiful floaty tune, as with Clean and This Love, but the lyrics pull it up above them. There’s a great moment where she talks about him waking in the night, with a strange look on his face, and saying “you’re my best friend.” That gave me shivers, since that exact thing happened to me with my boyfriend. “you can hear it in the silence, you can feel it on the way home, you can see it with the lights out.” I love this so much, especially since I have often been walking drunkenly home in the dark, hand in hand with my boyfriend, and had that burst of very pure, blinding love. Once again, she finds the words where nobody else can. Which takes me to another great line: “you understand now….why I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words”. I love the idea that she’s  constantly striving to describe this incredible, inspirational, overwhelming, indescribable thing. Taylor, you are so great at writing about love, never stop.

new romantics

New Romantics: Following on from an incredibly mature description of love, she finishes on a song that actually makes me quite sad. It’s a cool tune, let’s start with that. The beat is fun and it’s very poppy. What’s sad about this song is her depiction of the specific type of people she’s singing about. We all know them; people who claim to be happy and loving life and partying like that’s all they care about when actually they are pretty unhappy. This song is a natural successor to Red’s “22”; those people who were happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time, hoping to dance their troubles away, are still trying desperately to do it a few years later. According to this song, they are young, bored, manipulative. They struggle to finish each day, and then come alive at night, like life is only worth it if you are out partying. She makes them sound like a bunch of hollow, empty headed, shallow idiots, out partying, screaming ‘the best people in life are free.’ This is such a sad depiction that I want to give anyone she’s describing here a hug. They all sound delusional, living like teenagers while admitting “we need love.” I do admit to liking Taylor’s message here, the steadfast declaration; “it’s ok, we’re fine, we’re having a GREAT time, we’re PARTYING and DRINKING and GOING MAD.” Meanwhile, there are sly references that of course they aren’t happy, they’re lost, but they can’t bear to have anybody think that they’re anything other than totally awesome. The problem is, we can all see though it, which makes the act even sadder. It’s such a sad message overlaid over such a fun song, and the main reason I find it sad to listen to it is because I know people like this, and I wish so much that they would stop pretending to be happy and actually BE happy.


I actually think that the final three songs have a lot more to offer than a lot of the others on the album. The last 2 in particular are what I was hoping for; mature lyrics. But those songs that do manage it are struggling to be seen through a cloud of overproduced, generic pop. As I said before, my issue lies with the fact that anyone could have released a lot of these. Miley, Katy, Kesha. I like these artists, but they aren’t Taylor. Taylor had something special, and I’m worried she’s losing it. I’m longing for the days of All Too Well, Everything Has Changed, Begin Again, Holy Ground, State of Grace; awesome, unquestionably brilliant tunes, the likes of which 1989 just doesn’t have. I’m thinking she should step back from all the writers and try and write on her own for a while, as that’s when she really seems to shine.

I’m aware that I’m a lot older than most of her target audience, and I wonder if that’s the problem, but it does mean that I’m able to listen with some perspective. Where the younger ‘swifties’ will declare every song she releases a masterpiece and relentlessly troll anyone who declares otherwise, I can concede when she missteps. At least, if I think she has. And I really do think she has. I can’t help but feel like she’s limited herself. I also wonder if the only reason I like it at all is because I’ve had to lower my expectations. The first time I heard New York and Out of the Woods, I didn’t like them. no question. But they gave me an idea of what to expect, and as a result I moved my goalposts closer, made it easier for Taylor to score a winner.

I feel kinda bad about how I’ve been laying into this album. To be clear: I like it. It’s fine. It’s good. But after a month or so of plays, it’s back in the case, and Red is back in my car.

Regression isn’t a good thing, I know that. I just wish Taylor did.

Magazine Freebies Roundup: April 2015

Spring has sprung!!!! Finally!! I am sooo excited about this summer, I have some really exciting stuff coming up, loads to look forward to; and then of course, there’s the sun!!!

Another bonus of a new month is the new magazines coming out, but I’m sad to say there’s only one freebie this month, courtesy of Cosmopolitan.


Nooo idea who the girl on the cover is, but the freebie is a nail polish, from the New Kid range; one I’ve heard of, but I’m not overly familiar with. you could choose from four colours; red, maroon, Barbie pink and beige/nude.


Naturally, I went for the nude! I actually really like the look of this shade; it’s very light and almost buttery, and reminds me of tan leather.


I’m happy to have a new nail polish for my collection, but I can’t help but feel sad about the lack of freebies this month. Perhaps they are saving them for summer? Fingers crossed!

Disney Villains Varnish: Nail Polish Collection

I first read about these gorgeous little meta bottles of joy on another blog, and I was instantly lusting. The funky shaped bottles, the Disney theme, the artistically- styled villains; I mean, seriously, what’s not to love? Just check out these ladies! Look at their dresses! Their hair! Their total fabulousness!


I was gutted, however, that they were seemingly impossible to get hold of unless you were American. So just imagine my delight when I came across them in the Disney store! I cannot tell you how fast I scooped up a box and squirreled it home, anxious to try them out.


Flawless presentation to be sure. Bravo Disney, bravo. Anyway, let’s get stuck in.



Cruella De Vil: A rather striking, but generic, shade of bright red.


Went on nicely, and was very bright, but…it’s just red. There are sooo many reds. Perfectly serviceable, but just…ordinary. I think a red with black and white spots would have been awesome, a  proper Dalmatians polish, but what do I know.


 Evil Queen: Black, with fine red glitter particles.


I was sooo disappointed with this one. This looked so gorgeous in the bottle that I had it pegged as a winner, but then for some reason it went matte when I put it on. Taking away the gloss of the Evil Queen is utterly unforgivable if you ask me, and ruined any chance this polish had of being fabulous.



 Maleficent: A shimmery turquoise blue/green.


This one confused the hell out of me. Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but doesn’t this colour seem totally off? I thought a purple would be better suited, surely? Is she really blue?! I think this would have been better suited to Ursula, frankly, but again, what do I know. Nice colour, but another that could have been in any collection.



 Mother Gothel: A rich maroon/brown.


I actually quite liked this one. It’s very rich, and a gorgeous, deep shade. But…it’s brown! Brown! I think it’s a testament to my disappointment with this collection that a plain brown polish ended up being on the high end of the spectrum.



Queen of Hearts: A bright yellowy gold with shimmer particles.


A nice, warm gold, and I really liked the tiny shimmers, but I think, given the extreme nature of the Queen herself, that it’s just too subtle. It should have been GOLD gold. Like, nails wrapped in foil gold. And the lack of hearts is frankly ridiculous.



Ursula: A pale pearlescent pink/lilac with silver shimmer particles.


Meh. Pretty. Pale. Nothingness. This is a perfectly nice polish, but it feels like it belongs in the Disney Princess collection. This is URSULA. This is the woman with the deep throaty voice and kinky black tentacles, the woman who uses dead animals for lipstick and boomed ‘BODY LANGUAGE!’ in such an overtly sexual way that my pre-teen self didn’t know how to handle it. She is the ultimate of sexy, womanly villains, and to pass her off with this flimsy pale pink is pretty unforgivable.


In case you can’t tell, I was disappointed. The idea was fab, but it felt badly done, like they had randomly assigned colours to anyone.  I felt like they really could have done some amazing things if they had put some thought into it! Every time I painted in a colour, I was imagining what could have been, how much better I could have done it.

Given the awesome potential that this idea had, I feel even more disappointed by how it turned out. I don’t think it’s just Disney, to be fair; I’ve seen a ton of TV and Film tie ins that just didn’t live up to their potential. I feel like someone should definitely give me the job of creating these products; there’s no way I would let a Cruella De Vil polish out of the door without black and white spots, and don’t even get me STARTED on the Queen of Hearts…

MUA Pro-Base Prime & Conceal Powder

Today I am reviewing MUA’s Prime & Conceal Powder from their Pro-Base range. There are 3 reasons why I picked up this powder.

  1. I was looking for a new powder, and Instead of the matte finish I usually favour, I decided I wanted something a little more glowy.
  2. It’s MUA, and I am a huge fan of every little thing that they do.
  3. It’s got 4 pretty colours and it looks awesome.


I spotted this a few months back, and though I was intrigued, I didn’t buy it simply because I had no clue what the hell it was.

To be honest, I still don’t really. The packaging is less than enlightening. The only thing it says on the back of the compact is the following; “A baked, silk touch colour correcting powder that transforms your complexion.”

Lack of commas aside, this description is incredibly vague. It doesn’t explain anything other than what is blatantly obvious. A quick look on the website gave me these two further sentences;

“Apply this powder to help even out skin tone and illuminate. Wear alone or over your makeup to instantly brighten!” 

A little more helpful, at least. We now know that this will even skin tone. It also illuminates and brightens, which is exactly what I was looking for. I had a look at a few reviews, and people seemed impressed, so I invested in one.


I was super impressed by how cool it looked, but I still didn’t really know what to do with it. I know that green counteracts red, and I know that you’re meant to use yellow on your eyes, but what about the rest of it?? Again, I went to the MUA website…

“Peach – This will warm up any blue hues around your eyes, you can also use this to cover a bruise if you’ve had a bump. 

Lilac – Use this to brighten dull skin tones and counteract yellow tones. 

Yellow – This works especially well on olive and tanned complexions to brighten around your eyes.

Green – This will neutralise red tones in your complexion – if you have rosacea then apply this underneath your foundation.” 

It was at this point that I started to feel a bit cheated. As far as I can tell, peach and yellow do exactly the same thing. I also found the idea that this super pale green powder would neutralise rosacea laughable; this powders are all so pale that you can barely see them doing a gosh darn thing. Seriously. I applied them in all the right places, and my skin looked EXACTLY the same.

MUA then go on to add this gem;

“#MUATip – Remember to apply your skin tone concealer after you’ve corrected the colour to avoid a multi-coloured complexion!” 

I think you’re seriously overreaching there, MUA. I think I would struggle to have anyone notice I have anything on at all, let alone be shocked by my blindingly bright rainbow face.

Plain arm on the left...and with colour stripes on the right. OMG, sooo multi-coloured, amirite?!

Plain arm on the left…and with colour stripes on the right. OMG, sooo multi-coloured, amirite?!


I proper layered in those pictures, too. I put on a good 10 fingerfuls before I gave up. There is an incredibly vague, super light amount of colour to each of these, but any attempt at blending will whisk it away in an instant. Pretty much, don’t bother.


I hadn’t totally given up; I was still hoping that it would work as an all over illuminator, which of course is what I wanted it for. I grabbed a brush, gave it a swirl and covered my face in powder.

It made no difference.

Like, less than no difference. I think actually not putting it on would have been more effective. It doesn’t make me look luminous. It doesn’t correct my skin tone or brighten or do anything of note. It does literally sod all.

I’m willing to believe that maybe I’m using it wrong, somehow, but until someone proves this to me I will just have to assume that all the people who gave it good reviews are on some kind of trendy new hallucinogenic drug.

I bet this looks hella bright on LSD.

I bet this looks hella bright on LSD.

I still think it’s pretty. But I wasn’t exactly hoping to frame it, so that’s no good for anything either.

I tried to like it, I really did, but what am I supposed to do with it? it has no discernible use. I truly believe I could layer this on until I hit the pan, and still not notice anything of merit. If, for some ungodly reason, you are interested in buying one yourself, you can pick it up here for the bargain price of £4. Good luck with those poor life choices.

In the meantime, my friends, I give you my new MUA paperweight.

FYI, it was rubbish at that, too.

FYI, it was rubbish at that, too.

Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask by The Body Shop

I LOVE facemasks.

I really, really do.

Anytime I discover a new brand, or a new store, the first thing I do is make a beeline to the facemask section. I’ve been doing facemasks on myself since I was pretty young, and I truly believe the right mask can make the world of difference.

I have a ton. As of writing, I think I have just under 20 face masks in my possession, which I use in rotation. I use them all for different reasons; clay, if I’m having a day in which my face looks like an oil slick. Brightening, if I’m feeling less than luminous. Moisturising, to combat winter dryness. Peel-off, for when I want to feel like a kid who’s gone mental with PVA glue.

I’m always buying new ones, and willing to try every single one I find, but I also have some which I preference, ones which I repurchase, with a proven history of effectiveness. The one I’m writing about today is one of these. I was using it last night, and it suddenly occurred to me that despite being a facemask obsessive, I’ve never really blogged about them. This madness must end!!!!


This little fella is the Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask by The Body Shop. The following attributes are pulled from their website;

This revitalising clay mask cleanses skin and controls excess oil.

  • Draws out impurities
  • Clarifying
  • Refreshing

I should mention at this point that I have a massive bias towards clay masks. This is for a number of reasons; I have a pretty oily T-zone, for one thing, and clay is the best thing for oily skin. I also love the idea of slathering on a really thick mask, a hefty layer of mud, and having all the grim and dirt soak up into it like a sponge. You can really only get this effect with a clay mask, and that’s the reason I was first drawn to this one.


As you can see, this is truly a mud mask, to a massive degree. It’s SO thick. It may be the thickest mud mask I’ve ever used. You truly have to dig in order to scoop out a fingerful of this stuff; it’s the kind of nightmare mud that used to make me hate hockey at school.

Fortunately, on your face, it’s heaven. It’s thick, gritty, and really feels like it’s gonna super power its way through your face, taking all dirt and oil with it. It’s so thick that you really don’t need a massive amount to get solid coverage, which is fantastic, as it means you can get more uses out of it.


Another great thing about this mask is how fast it dries. Most mud masks take their own sweet time, but this one is crusty in under 10 minutes; practically a miracle given how thick it is. It also does this pretty cool thing where it shows you what it’s doing; as you can see in the pictures below, as it dries, you can see oily spots on my nose, where the mask is soaking up the grossness.

Go ahead, look at my oily pores. I dare you.

Go ahead, look at my oily pores. I dare you.

I can’t even explain how much fun this is to observe. It’s like using that mouthwash where you spit all the bacteria into the sink afterwards; gross, but intensely satisfying.

My skin always feels great after I wash this mask off. Fresh and clear, without a drop of oil in sight. It brightens up my T-zone considerably, and I feel like it keeps oil at bay for at least a few days afterwards.

It has a lovely, fresh, oceany smell (that would be the seaweed then) which makes me feel like I’m having a proper, spa facial. I can’t speak to what it tastes like, but my cat seemed to enjoy it.

That's fine Parsley, you go right ahead and snack on my face.

That’s fine Parsley, you go right ahead and snack on my face.

There had to be a downside, of course, and here it is; this is one of those masks that can sting like hell on earth. If you’ve ever had a stingy face mask, you know exactly what I mean. That horrid, itchy, burning sensation that makes you want to wash off the mask STRAIGHT AWAY before you lose all the skin on your face. That feeling.

Now to be fair, I don’t get this all the time. It happened the first 2 times I used it, and lasted for about a minute before settling down. I’ve always told myself this is just my skin being super cleaned, but I really don’t know if that’s true. It certainly is true that after my skin got used to it, the stingy feeling went away, never to return, but I still feel like I need to warn you. If you have sensitive skin, this may be one to avoid.

I do love it, though. It’s one of the more satisfying mud masks I’ve used, and the gritty texture gives you a bit of exfoliation when you wash it off.

You can buy it here for £13, and according to their website it’s a bestseller, which I can totally understand. An amazing face mask for a solid price, with only a slight chance of extreme face burn. I call that a win!